In an emotional ceremony recognizing two high-school teens, Historic City News reporters interviewed Cody Decker and Luke Vaughn this morning as Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming presented the 17 year-olds with lifesaving awards in what has to be the best “feel good” story in northeast Florida this year.
News reporters from as far away as Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Orlando gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Palm Coast today; along with a crowd of family members, law enforcement officers, paramedics and firefighters to applaud the two spring-breakers for their spontaneous, heroic acts to save two victims trapped in a burning vehicle.
Parents and family members of 42 year-old Carlos Adams, and his passenger, 44 year-old Tracy Lopez, the victims of the high-speed crash that happened in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, had their first opportunity to meet face-to-face.
“This is an outstanding example of our youth in America, today,” Sheriff Fleming said of the two vacationing high school students.
Decker and Vaughn were tired and didn’t want to stay for the end of the movie they were watching, so they headed home — via Taco Bell. When they got to the security gate at the entrance of Canopy Walk in Palm Coast around 12:52 a.m., the code they were trying to use would not work. While stuck outside, they saw a vehicle speed past them — seconds later, they heard a crash then saw the mangled 2002 Jaguar on fire on Palm Coast Parkway at Linear Park.
The pair recounted sprinting to the vehicle, which was already on fire. Another person at the scene told the boys that the people inside were already dead. Soon, Cody Decker said he heard a moan and rushed up to the car. “Two people begging for their lives is something you’ll never forget,” Decker said.
“Tracy has got broken bones, we talk to her every day — Carlos is hour, by hour,” said Emma Adams, victim Carlos Adams mother. “Its in God’s hands, but I’d like you guys to know that when we got to the trauma unit, nothing’s wrong with Carlos brain or his head, we were able to talk to him for one hour, in the trauma unit at Halifax, before they could get him into surgery.”
Luke Vaughn, who traveled to Florida from Dewitt, Michigan near Lansing, with the Deckers, broke out the driver’s window then bent down the door’s frame in order to remove the couple before emergency crews could get to the scene.
“So, whatever happened, we were able to tell each other that we love you Carlos, he’s telling us we love you — and just for that, you have given us another chance to tell each other how much we love him,” said Mrs Adams. “And, you guys, I pray and I give you God’s mercies … you were sent here for a reason, for such a time as this.”
Fire Chief Mike Beadle told the pair that if they ever consider a career in firefighting, they should look him up in Palm Coast.
Captain Jerry Crews, District Commander with the Florida Highway Patrol, commended the young men for their courage, as did members of the Flagler County Fire Rescue and Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Both Mr and Mrs Adams said they felt these two students were where God wanted them to be that morning — not to be “heroes” but to be “angels”.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer